On April 17, 2011, I tried to kill myself.
At least, I crossed the intersection of Colorado and Central against traffic and admitted to police officers that I wanted to end my life. In California, that’s close enough to a suicide attempt to land you with a 5150 – making you officially a danger to yourself, and getting you locked up in a mental institution for a 72 hour hold until they can determine whether or not you are mentally healthy enough to rejoin the rest of society, or whether they need to keep you, for your own safety, for another two weeks inside a facility with truly dangerous people (some of whose mental illnesses had caused them to kill others) and powdered eggs.
I only spent 1 day with the really troubled folks before the psychiatrist on site decided I ought to be allowed downstairs with the people who were less violent. But I’ll tell you, the talks I had with Victor, a 19 year old Mexican mafioso, who was also in as a suicide-attempter, will stay with me all my life. He didn’t know another way out of his life when his whole family was “the family” and his grandfather was the guy who was his abuser from a young age.
My woes paled in comparison, I felt — yet when I told him my story, he cried because he couldn’t imagine having a chronic illness and making your whole family poor because you couldn’t work either. He actually hugged me in the yard and hid me while I was having a seizure because he said “You don’t want the nurses finding you like this. They’re awful.” And the ones upstairs kinda were. I think they’d hit compassion fatigue.
But thankfully, that was my last seizure during the 72 hours. Those few days helped me gain strength for what would be an epic year of change for me.
Long-time readers of my journal will remember 2005 as my First Year of Fire: Getting Divorced, Moving from My House (That I Owned!) Back to My Parents House, Then To Poppy’s, Then Moving to Los Angeles, and Starting Law School. It was like I started a whole new life. It was like God was forging me to be stronger and better so that I could be a better Rachael and do more in life.
This second year of fire is no different. I got hit with God’s Hammer over and over again.
After getting out of Glendale Adventist, Adam and I had to deal with the very real situation at hand that Mom and Dad had removed their financial support and that we could no longer afford to live in CA. We went through the process of selling as much of our stuff as we possibly could, and we moved to Adam’s brother’s home in Romeoville.
Here in Romeoville, there is no public transportation in the subdivision where we live, so for the past 9 months, I’ve spent most of my days alone, unable to go anywhere, and without any friends in the area. It’s a drastic change from the life we were living, but it’s taught me a lot about myself.
It’s forced me to learn how to be alone and to be okay with it. I’ve gotten better as a writer, have learned to crochet, have gotten more into jewelry making, playing video games, playing guitar and piano, as well as cooking and researching paleo recipes.
Adam was able to get a job right away here, though not one that gave us financial independence from Nick — though we are hopeful for one of the 3 jobs he’s interviewed for recently to come through soon! Fingers crossed!
I’m now comfortably a part of the other side of my family, and I feel like wearing the Majka last name is appropriate and not just something I put on.
And I see the value in being a housewife: something I swore as a child I would never be. It was a position I looked down upon because I didn’t understand its beauty, necessity, or worth. I’ve been able to redefine success for myself, because with my conditions I can say that I am successful on a day now if I: 1.) shower 2.) do at least 1 load of dishes and 3.) do at least 1 load of laundry. I’m totally awesome if I have dinner ready by the time Adam’s home from work. All of that on top of watching foster kittens, writing blog entries, and being a Rae is enough for me.
I think the biggest success of the year, however, is that I no longer want to die.
Part of it is medication – Abilify has made a huge difference.
Part of it is meditation – Tao/Buddhism and being present in the moment makes a huge difference.
Part of it was working through things in EMDR in therapy – and it was a LOT of work going through the traumatic events of my early childhood, being honest about what I was feeling when it was shame based and scary.
But ALL of it is choice.
Happiness, contentment, solace – they require consistent choice in their favor, especially when times seem their bleakest.
I ask that if you know anyone who is suicidal that you please encourage them to get help, to learn about meditation, and to tough it out. A good life is possible, but it is constant work.
And it’s worth it.